NORTH MANKATO, Minn. - A North Mankato couple faces six criminal counts for allegedly starving, abusing and neglecting their adopted son.
A criminal complaint says 44-year-old Mona Alane Hauer., and her 44-year-old husband Russell Hauer deprived the boy of food, made him sleep in a plastic sled inside basement room with an alarm on it, and hit him with a broom handle when he misbehaved.
The alleged abuse was discovered when Mona Hauer brought the 8-year-old boy to a Mayo System-Mankato clinic after he began vomiting blood. Doctors found that the boy was in the 3rd percentile in both size and development, was extremely malnourished, and that the enamel was worn off his teeth from vomiting.
Reports indicate the child was only 34.7 lbs and 3 feet 5 inches tall, and that his bones were protruding and his abdomen distended.
Mona Hauer told doctors the boy was on a liquid diet because he regurgitated. She said he had issues with food, and that she and her husband would sleep outside his door at night to keep him from stealing from the refrigerator.
Detectives talked to the boy, who told them that he hadn't been given solid food for two months. He said that he sometimes snuck out and ate rotted food from the family's compost pile, and occasionally digested suet from the bird feeder. He said when he was caught sneaking food he would be struck with a board or a broom handle.
The boy's three siblings gave similar accounts, saying he would be forced to sit at the table and drink liquid while they dined on solid food. A sister said the boy had a bed wetting problem, and that she would have to take him out in the back yard and hose him and his urine-soaked clothes down two or three times a week.
The siblings also told detectives the boy was the source of all the "problems" in the family, and that he was naughty and frequently would steal food. They also described being disciplined with the board and the broom handle.
A therapist who had examined the boy before he was adopted said he exhibited "very serious, trauma-based symptoms" that would require psychotherapy and other therapies. Records show the Hauers never followed through on those recommendations.
The 8-year-old remains hospitalized so doctors can treat him for the effects of severe malnutrition. Doctors say his brain is atrophied and his bones are severely underdeveloped as a result of that malnutrition.
Both Mona and Russell Hauer are charged with six felony counts, ranging from neglect or endangerment of a child to malicious punishment of a child. If convicted the couple faces the potential of five years in prison on each criminal count.
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